There are plans to buy NFL teams through NFTs
HOUSTON — The pictures on the wall in his game room tell the story of an ultimate underdog. And now former professional footballer Garrick Jones is attempting a historic Hail Mary.
“You need billions of dollars,” KHOU’s Jason Bristol said on the 11th.
“Absolutely,” Jones said.
“Will that be a problem?” Bristol asked.
“No, no, no, not at all. Because you have billions of people, right?” Jones replied.
Jones, who lives in the Houston area, believes these people will pool their money — with his guidance — to buy a major league franchise.
“Man, this is going to be global,” he said.
Ideally, it’s an NFL franchise. He wants it to be the Houston Texans, now valued at $4.7 billion by Forbes. However, the Texans don’t seem to be selling.
“I have a vested interest as a former player,” Garrick said.
As he said last January, Jones is leading a new venture called Fancentric, hoping to build a Green Bay Packers for the crypto age. But does he have an entry fee for fans yet?
“It ranges anywhere from $100 to $50,000,” Jones said.
However, this is not a cash deal. The “community owned” franchise will be through NFT (non-fungible tokens) which are digital certificates of ownership stored on the blockchain, a registry that is almost impossible to hack.
With the subscription, fans will not only buy in. They buy in. Membership fees include seminars to teach them about day-to-day operations.
“I mean, it’s about accountability. I mean, if you’re a fan, and you start learning about the inner workings of a team that you go to, you no longer go to the game just as a fan, you now .. you have a vested interest in it,” Jones said.
His background? An offensive lineman. He made the Texans roster in 2004 despite going undrafted, playing mostly in Canada. When did he first come up with this idea?
“I would say 2012 when I started my developmental league,” Jones said.
He has also organized a minor league football operation and once ran an Internet campaign to become general manager of Texas.
California attorney Alicia Jessop, who specializes in sports law, said she is skeptical that his Fancentrics model will work.
“I love progress. I love technology. I find blockchain fascinating,” Jessop said. “Americans are investing more and more in unique and diverse portfolios, one of which is cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. But as fun as this sounds, I don’t think it’s likely to materialize anytime soon.”
She said there are an “excruciating” number of hurdles to overcome to own a team.
“I’ve helped individuals buy shares of teams in your major sports leagues and it’s a lengthy process where the leagues are going to reveal so many aspects of who you are, where your money comes from, where you’re going and what you can do stay,” she said. “It’s not just a matter of let’s collect a couple of billion dollars and let’s go to prosecution after this.”
The NFL has a rule that there must be at least one investor who owns 1/3 of the team. The NFL doesn’t allow more than 24 people in an ownership group, according to Bloomberg News, and the Packers’ community structure is grandfathered. Jessup also has concerns about where the investment money will be held.
Jones said his setup will comply with all SEC rules and regulations. Since KHOU 11 last caught up with him, Jones has launched a private equity fund to bring in major investors with the goal of buying franchises from lower-level professional sports leagues, to prove his model is viable. He’s also betting on the NFL, one day, changing the rules for ownership groups.
After we spoke with Jones, the BIG 3 three-on-three basketball league founded by Ice Cube announced that it is “creating a new ownership model by leveraging blockchain technology to sell NFTs that represent ownership-like value in its 12 teams. “
Critics won’t deter Jones, however. He considers himself a market disruptor – eager to display his tokens, including ceremonial paper copies.
“This is a memento,” he said as he showed it to Bristol. “This is for Fancentric, Houston.”
Hoping to change the ownership game in pro sports, Jones finds himself in a familiar place: The longest of long shots.
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